Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 10, 2017

When voting doesn't matter, people tend to not vote

This post is about real world politics, even if the idea came from The Ancient Gaming Noob, about a game that shall not be named. He mentioned the problem as the lords of that forsaken land have some election and the voting rate is abysmal and they try to fix it.

Here is a wonderful idea: how about making the election meaningful? The mid-term elections in the USA and the EU parliament elections in Europe has much lower turnout than the presidential and national parliament elections, because people think that their votes changes nothing: they send this or that guy to an organization that is governed by "the elites" anyway by arcane bureaucracy. The President on the other hand has some authority and a visible agenda. No one doubts that the USA will be very different under Trump than it would be under Clinton so voting on that election mattered. In the meantime, the impotent congress republicans are infighting over the Obamacare replacement that they kept promising for six years. Same for the sovereign national parliaments in Europe. If Viktor Orbán lost the last national election, there wouldn't be a border fence to stop the migrants in Hungary and therefore there wouldn't be any challenge to Merkel's "everyone's welcome" policy. One challenger was enough to start a snowball that led to closure of the Balkan route. Can you cite a single EP decision that mattered? I sure can't. No doubt that more people voted for and against Orbán than for the Hungarian EP delegates (I can't name a single one of them).

The lords of that forsaken land claim "vote if you want a change" to the disenfranchised, but they fool no one. People did vote for a change. They voted for Ripard and Sugar en masse. And nothing changed. These representatives left in disgust after realizing that they are sidelined and ignored, that the lords listen to nobody but their buddies and business partners.

That place is doomed, but the rest of the World is not. The low turnouts are not the fault of the voters, it's not them who should be lectured. If the turnout is low, the elected body should be reformed into something effective or disbanded if it's impossible. Voters don't need useless councils that has no authority to do anything or unable to do anything due to filibuster. They respond to that nonsense by ignoring it: not voting. The leaders must listen and fix that body instead of insulting the people!


Anonymous said...

That you do not bother to read about the EU parliament, does not make them irrelevant.

Laws that matter:

Right to be forgotten
Working Time Directive
Water Framework Directive
Temporary Agency Workers rights.

The EU parliament is seen to be irrelevant because, well, the media only write about it with headline grabbing stories. And the EU Parliament has been notoriously bad at promoting itself.

Take a look through their site, see what the people you voted for do and say, see who they are friends with in parliament. It might surprise you.

As for Hungary and its decisions on refugees? Yes, that has said a lot about the nation.

Lorelei Ierendi said...

How many days did you go without talking about EVE- You could have posted this without referencing us!

Gevlon said...

@Anon: I know about those directives. They are just not relevant to everyday people.

@Lorelei: yes, but I didn't want to deny TAGN his well deserved link for the thought provoking post.

Asphodel said...

You are absolutely right. Votes for the US presidential elections don't matter due to the winner take all system in the states and the fact that the winner of the popular vote doesn't have to become president, and their voter turn-outs are abysmal. That politicians in the US think a turn-out of about 55% is no reason for alarm is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Majority of the voting systems over the world favor heavily the winner. Thats the problem, because for every winner, there are several losers who got totally ignored. USA presidental voting system is extreme example. Arpund 50% turnout ignores half the population. 2 major parties make 2 viable options what halves the counting votes amout. How parties get votes their nominees makes the the amount of powers even shorter. In the end, its all controlled by small group of people who decide who will be the canditates. Their result is, that national vote is a 50% choice of basicly same options or pick a loser who has no chance to get elected. Its hard to find a meaning on this kind of voting. Same thing is in europe too, bit milder and harder to detect, thanks to more colorful parlaments and clever juristical restrictions.

Voting feels like free market for options. There are the the good producers(parties) who push anyone out who try to enter the market and new producers have hard time to get the market share. Because its very hard to compete, producer who control the market can manipulate it without losing almost anything. You cant lose market if you cant even try alternative products. I like Single transferable voting system, because it allows to try the different products without losing the supplier to current preference. And that makes me feel that im meaningful.

dobablo said...

Most elected bodies do a great deal of important work. The main reason they get low turn-outs is because they get less publicity in their actions and in the lead-up to elections than those for national leaders which get full spectrum coverage.
People are more likely to vote if they think it affects them. That is a two fold criteria. Councils need to be effective AND people need to hear about what they do.
Localisation of power needs to be heavily dependent on the degree of scrutiny and coverage that it can be given. An inexperienced local journalist producing half a page on an issue in a weekly free-paper won't be anywhere near as effective at providing oversight as a dozen national veteran journalists providing daily coverage. Increasing the power wielded by minor councils would have a marginal impact on their publicity while risk creating a local political elite over which electors have very little control. It would be the opposite of intended goal.

Luobote Kong said...

Actually it is the European Commision (unelected) that makes EU policy. The parliament is more a reforming and rubber stamping body in the main although it can reject the budget. Which kind of makes your point as it replicates the nonsense in the game that must not be mentioned

Lorelei Ierendi said...

@Gevlon - a well deserved link? I am sure you could have linked more subtley.... "Tagn wrote a well thought out post on this subject..." without going through all your innuendos.
Gevlon... Cold Turkey really is best Turkey. Try to set yourself a goal (eg 28 days without even referencing that game) and see if you can do it... occasional setbacks are ok... but never give up!

Smokeman said...

"If the turnout is low, the elected body should be reformed into something effective or disbanded if it's impossible."

Wherein lies the rub. The "system" defends itself by making it very difficult to remove less than stellar examples of responsible leadership. Even if you DO manage to vote in a saint who will fight for the people, it's only a matter of time before they succumb to the power (And in all likelihood, that's what attracted them to the job in the first place.) or are replaced by a much better liar who is also seeking the power.

So, the question is: Disbanded by whom? Reformed by whom? Surely not the people doing everything in their power to prop it up.

Anonymous said...

"@Anon: I know about those directives. They are just not relevant to everyday people."

Excuse me? (I am an other Anon, btw.) - would you read those directives, or at last their titles, again? They matter to a whole lot of ordinary people.

Another example, which definitely effects all ordinary people: mobile phone fees.

And another: toxic substance use in everyday products.

You may be right about _perceived_ importance, but not at all about actual importance.